In 1858, Henry Waldo Coe, a native of New Hampshire whose father served as a surgeon for the Union during the United States Civil War, moved to California to establish the Willow Ranch within the Santa Clara Valley. At that time, the property had been primarily used for cattle ranching.
A few years later, Henry Waldo Coe acquired the San Felipe Ranch, also known as the Rancho Valle de San Felipe, and had his two sons, Henry Coe, Junior and Charles Coe, work on that property as cattle ranchers.
In 1892, the brothers vastly expanded the property owned by their family, by acquiring 6,000 additional acres within the bodies of water and hills of the Diablo Valley. The original properties owned by Henry W. Coe and those of his sons, became the Pine Ridge Ranch.
The daughter of Henry Coe Junior, Sara Sutcliffe Coe Robinson, managed the Pine Ridge Ranch in 1932. In 1943, after Henry Coe, Junior died his son, also named Henry, took ownership of the ranch. However, in 1949, Henry sold the ranch to an investor, which prompted his sister Sara Sutcliffe Coe Robinson to purchase the ranch so that it would stay within the Coe family. In 1953, Sara transferred the deed to the Pine Reed Ranch to the donated to the county of Santa Clara. Five years later, Santa Clara transferred the deed of the ranches to California which allowed the state to convert the property to a state park.
In present day the visitor center for the Henry W. Coe State Park contains paintings of the family members who used to own the various ranches and artifacts from the rancher lifestyle.
The California State Parks describe the history of the Gilroy Hot Springs Resort in Henry Coe State Park as follows:
This National Register of Historic Place Site is where, 1865 George W. Roop, with business partners, developed a resort with accommodations and activities that ranked among the best hotels and that attracted business leaders and socialites from the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. Wm. J. McDonald added an outdoor swimming pool, and hosted political rallies. People arrived via train from San Francisco, then by stagecoach from Gilroy. In its heyday it drew over 300 guests daily to the 2 hotels, 40 cabins, 3 restaurants, mineral baths, outdoor camping, hunting, hiking, and events. It was known to have, “the most healing waters in California”. The passing of Roop and McDonald, paired with the depression years lead to a decline in popularity and maintenance.
In 1938 H. K. Sakata’s purchase made it the only Japenese-owned mineral spring resort in California, and an oasis from stress for the Japenese business leaders in the U.S. at the end of World War II, it became a healing transitional home for Japenese-Americans from Internment Camps. In the 1950s-60s, with a fresh new water pool, it became a go-to vacation spot and attracted guests World-wide”.
During the Mexican War and the United States Civil War, Camp San Filipe, which was within the San Felipe Ranch, was one of the many California camps utilized by the United States military.